You Deserve Cheap Toilet Paper, You Beautiful Moon Goddess

You Deserve Cheap Toilet Paper, You Beautiful Moon Goddess

In my short lifetime, I have heard more than one perfectly sensible person tell me they “can’t do” cheap toilet paper.

Rick knows how I feel.

I don’t know why people tell me these things.

It’s like they want me to cry out to Father Dagon and Mother Hydra and bid them raise an army of Deep Ones from the many-columned depths of Y’ha-nthlei to sweep over the land and drown the humans in a cosmic flood as recompense for their innumerable and unpardonable follies.

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My Cure for Aimless Wardrobe Syndrome: Manage Your Clothes the Same Way You Manage Your Money

My Cure for Aimless Wardrobe Syndrome: Manage Your Clothes the Same Way You Manage Your Money

Until very recently, I suffered from a pretty bad case of Aimless Wardrobe Syndrome.

I felt lost when it came to clothing. I assembled outfits at random. If I ever looked good, it was at the cost of 35 minutes of standing in my closet, hemming and hawing like an asthmatic donkey.

It seemed like a pretty insignificant problem. But eventually, I realized it was quietly harming me every dang day. I was wasting way too much time, money, and spoons deciding what to wear. And it somehow left me feeling worse about myself, not better!

This led me to develop a cure for my Aimless Wardrobe Syndrome. And in retrospect, it was so obvious that I’m sorta kicking myself for not figuring it out sooner.

It requires a bit of time to set up. But it transformed my daily life for the better. Since I developed this system, I’ve been shopping less, buying less, and spending way less time considering my options. And y’all know how I value my money and my time! Yet I also love everything I wear, and wear everything I love. It kicks ass.

Here’s my system. Steal it!

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5 Lies About DIYing I'm Seriously Sick of Hearing

5 Lies About DIYing I’m Seriously Sick of Hearing

Today we’re covering a subject near to my heart. Too near to my heart. Like a clogged aortic valve that’s ready to blow. It’s lies about DIYing!

This is a subject I’ve been dying to set the record straight on. Because the internet is busting at the seams with of lying liars and the lie-ful lies they lyingly lie.

Most beautifulest table.

Let me start off by asking you a question: do you like this table? Of course you do! It’s beautiful as shit. I made it myself and it only cost me $29.

(…Or did it?)

I found this poor wretch on Craigslist. It had a crust of chipping chalkboard paint—because apparently there are people who like to dine to a soundtrack of plates scraping across a blackboard?! Underneath, it was solid wood, sturdily constructed, fully disassemblable, and priced to sell at only $25. Like the conventionally attractive nerd in an early 90s movie, it only needed its glasses lifted off to become beautiful.

After sanding the old paint off, I took some glossy white paint I had leftover from another project and applied it to the legs. Then I stained the tabletop with a $4 can of Minwax stain obtained on clearance from my local hardware store. The result is a beautiful handcrafted table that you’d never know cost $29!

There’s only one catch…

I lied.
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If the cost of regular goods and services grows at a steady walking pace, higher education is galloping away like a Triple Crown winner whose ass just met a hornet.

How to Pay for College without Selling Your Soul to the Devil

Listen you lazy, entitled whiners: it’s easy to pay for college. Just get a summer job! Why, in my day I worked weekends as a fry cook down at the diner on Main, graduated without debt, and now I’m sixty-five years old and completely delusional about the inflated costs of higher education! Ask me more about the house I bought for $60,000 and how much I resent the respectful empathy of the children I raised!

Sorry, y’all. Probably should’ve started that with a trigger warning.

Whenever we write about student loans, we get at least one comment like this. Except with more caps lock. We delete them. We never silence interesting criticism, but come on, this ain’t a public square for every old man who wants to yell at a cloud! We pay good money for this web hosting!

At least where the cost of college is concerned, things aren’t what they used to be. Thirty years ago, it cost the modern equivalent of $8K per year to attend a public college and $18K per year to attend a private college.

Today, the same year of school would cost $21K and $48K. And you’re supposed to buy FOUR of them!

If the cost of regular goods and services grows at a steady walking pace, the cost of higher education is galloping away like a Triple Crown winner whose ass just met a hornet. I didn’t even mention the cost of textbooks, room and board, and other academic fees, which are all even worse. Can’t be giving you nightmares!

Meanwhile, average hourly wages have barely increased 11% (adjusted for inflation), making the wage-to-college-cost-ratio just fucking laughable. Yet college is still a barrier to entry into not only white collar jobs, but an ever-increasing number of blue collar jobs.

My purpose here is not to unpack the absurd inflation of higher education costs in recent years (I’d need another 2,500 words, and I can only hold your attention through so many gifs). Nor is it to debate the relative value of a college degree (another 3,000 words).

Instead, I want to focus on practical solutions for people who’ve already weighed their options and decided that college is right for them. Yes, a traditional four-year undergraduate degree is heckin’ expensive as fuck. Short of The Deep Magic, how do we mere mortals even attempt to pay for it?

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Self care should not be synonymous with self-destruction.

Proven Tactics for Avoiding Emotional Impulse Spending

You had a bad day. You’re takin’ one down. You sing a sad song just to turn it around…

… and so you go buy something.

The sweet release of “retail therapy” can feel like an injection of dopamine straight into the pleasure centers of your brain. Some even count it as self-care. For what can be more self-caring than to treat yo’self?

I know people who stress-spend like others I stress-eat cheese. The problem is that the euphoria that comes from buying something new—even if it’s fancy cheese and you really fucking deserve it because work sucked today—is short-lived, but the money you spent is gone forever.

That brief high of retail therapy or impulse spending can waylay your larger financial goals and damage the delicate equilibrium of your savings, generating far more stress than you relieved with the purchase.

Yet being upset about a bad day doesn’t mean you have to throw your financial goals to the wind. And losing that money while trying to make yourself feel momentarily better is going to feel worse in the long run.

I’m sympathetic to the plight of the emotional impulse-spender. Which is why I want to help you find another way of making yourself feel better. One that doesn’t involve your meager paycheck.

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Some people make budgets, fail at them, and enter a cycle of self-loathing and financial stress that harms more than it helps.

Budgets Don’t Work for Everyone—Try This System Instead

On a recent episode of the highly respected, laudable, and deserving-of-awards Bitches Get Riches podcast, Kitty and I came out with a controversial take: You don’t necessarily need a budget.

Next to “You can buy a latte sometimes,” it’s just about the closest we’ve come to outright heresy in the halls of money writers. We expect to be shunned and excommunicated any moment now.

Yet I firmly believe that budgeting doesn’t work for everyone!

Yes, for some people it’s an incredibly useful, indispensable tool. I know people who flailed around with money like a noodly-armed fan man on a used car lot before they made a budget, and afterward approached their finances with the serenity and enlightenment of a monk.

Seen here: Actual post-budgeting bliss. Results not typical.

I also know people who make budgets, fail at them, and enter a cycle of constant self-loathing and financial stress that ultimately harms them more than it helps. Some of us chafe against the rigidity of a budget, others thrive within its strict boundaries.

Seen here: Actual post-budgeting death throes.

So budgeting ain’t for everyone. But that doesn’t mean you’re excused from managing your money altogether. Even without a budget, it’s still useful to have a system for keeping an eye on your money.

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While we should all do what we can, the key phrase there is "what we can."

Ethical Consumption: How to Pollute the Planet and Exploit Labor Slightly Less

There’s a short story by Ursula K. LeGuin called The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas. With apologies to the late, great author, I want to summarize it here:

In the city of Omelas, everyone is deliriously happy. The people eat well, drink well, and party all the time. There’s no sickness, no pain, and the weather’s always perfect. It’s a utopia. Everyone has everything they could possibly want or need.

Well, almost everyone. For deep in the heart of Omelas is a dark, damp, cold room. And in this room is a child: unwashed, starved, uneducated, and treated cruelly. They don’t have a name, a family, clothes, or a clue as to why they’re kept in horrible conditions.

Everyone in Omelas is taken to see the child once in their lifetimes. They’re made to understand that, somehow, all the glorious happiness of Omelas relies on this one person’s suffering. As long as this child suffers, everyone else in Omelas will thrive.

And it’s then that the individuals of Omelas make a choice: to stay in Omelas, content in the knowledge that their comfort and happiness relies on the misery of another; or to leave, to opt out, to go somewhere that might not be as perfect as Omelas, but where they can live without exploiting another for their own gain.

The ethical choice is, of course, to walk away from Omelas. It’s a fable for modern times.

We live in a world where so much of our lifestyles, our wealth, relies on exploitation. Animals live short, brutish lives on factory farms so we can eat meat from the supermarket. Carbon emissions slowly damage the climate to devastating effect so we can drive cars and ride airplanes. Children work twelve-hour work days in sweatshops so we can browse a closet full of fashionable clothes and still say “I have nothing to wear.”

The way we consume—food, clothing, electronics, everything—is, all too often, pretty fucking unethical.

Now here’s a gif of a doggo hanging out with some baby chicks because that shit just got real fucking dark!

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Chocolate Sandwich Cookies, Ranked

It’s that time again…

The time of year when we gather with our fellow witches closest friends around a glowing green bonfire kitchen table to determine which village baby to steal away name-brand snacks are worth it… and witch which are not!

Last year we settled the ancient blood feud of which cheese cracker is best. There were lots of surprises in that test! And the results permanently altered the course of our cheese-cracker-buying habits.

This year we’re talking about chocolate and vanilla sandwich cookies: a thin layer of vanilla cream resting in the loving embrace of two chocolate cookies.

Yes… we’re talking about Oreos and Faux-reos.

Guided by our extremely awesome Patreon donors, it is time to answer the question: can a store-brand cookie knock the Oreo from its throne and/or cast it down into the darkest pits of hell?!

Let’s find out!

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Don't try to parent your parents. That way lies madness.

Ask the Bitches: My Dad Sucks with Money. How Do I Make Him Change?

We have a letter from a reader today! And it’s a keeper.

Bitches, what can I do to help my parents be smarter with their money?

My dad is in his fifties, and he has really bad money habits. He makes a decent amount, but he clearly lives beyond his means. He drives a luxury car, and goes on 2-3 vacations every year. There’s a storage unit full of toys (ATVs, a home gym, etc.) he owns but barely uses. He orders in most meals, even though he has an amazing kitchen I would kill for. Seeing how wasteful he is makes me want to scream.

As far as I know, he has almost nothing saved away for retirement. He doesn’t seem to have an emergency fund. I don’t know how much debt he’s in, but I’ve seen his credit card come back declined more than once.

I’m so worried that he’ll reach retirement age with absolutely nothing. My own finances are probably in better shape, even though I’m younger and work at a tiny nonprofit! I’ve tried to educate him about personal finance several times in the past. He gets defensive and brushes me off. I offered to help him make a budget more than once, but he declines. Last time we argued about it, he said his plan is to never retire! What can I say to make him change?

When parents suck with money

This letter is perfectly timed, as our really, really, really ridiculously good-looking Patreon donors have asked us to write on the subject of parents who are bad with money.

I think a lot of young people can relate to this letter writer’s problem. On the whole, Millennials are better at setting financial goals and saving/investing toward them than their Baby Boomer parents. (Though they have some things in common. Boomers say they don’t need to invest in their retirement because they’ll never stop working; Millennials say they don’t need to because climate change will kill us all. Comme ci, comme ça.)

When I was ten years old, my mother yelled at me when my kitten peed on our family room sofa. “It’s a brand new, six thousand dollar couch!” she cried in frustration.

As I did my best to scrub the ammonia stink away, I remember internally questioning why anyone would buy a six thousand dollar couch—especially someone with three kids, a dog, and a kitten. I didn’t have a strong concept of the value of a dollar yet… but I knew that was a lotof boxes of Swiss Cake Rolls.

Two decades later, I’ve come to what I think is a more mature, nuanced understanding of how to approach your parent’s finances. At our patrons’ behest, I want to share it with you all today. It’s only four words long!

Letter writer, I think you need to mind your own business.

Stay in your lane.
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